From submarine exploration to over-the-top interiors, this year’s Best of the Best marine winners include vessels as varied as a 48-foot go-fast tender with oodles of fold-out deck space to a 357-foot award-winning hybrid gigayacht with opulent staterooms—and everything in between. We applaud an interior that, at the owner’s request, emulates Italy’s art nouveau rendition, Stile Liberty, with exacting execution, as well as a semi-custom model that comes with designer furniture and sculptures in place. In our 200- to 300-foot category, we recognize an efficient and fast yacht that employs a historically commercial-and military-vessel technology that improves comfort while under way, as well as a low-key and tasteful explorer yacht built for family fun.
With larger and longer, faster and more efficient yachts leading the global fleet, we give a nod to the best examples as we see them.
MOTOR YACHT OVER 300 FEET:
Oceanco Bravo Eugenia
Following through on last year’s Best of the Best trend of going green, Dutch shipyard Oceanco delivered the 357-foot, four-deck Bravo Eugenia to Gene and Jerry Jones, owners of the Dallas Cowboys, in December. This lean and mean yacht with naval architecture and engineering by UK-based Lateral Naval Architects, sporty exterior design by Nuvolari Lenard of Venice and elegant interior by Reymond Langton, also in the UK, receives Best of the Best honors for its LIFE-designed hull (lengthened, innovative, fuel-efficient and eco-friendly), a new ethos for Oceanco. Bravo Eugenia’s long, slender hull means less drag, making for a lower propulsion-power need (read: efficiency), and its single-story engine room (the big yachts usually require at least two levels) provides space for the fun stuff—staterooms, spas, beach clubs.
Besides its efficient architecture, Bravo Eugenia offers up two helipads—one on the foredeck and one on the aft deck—a large tender garage with tons of space for a flotilla of water toys, and an onboard spa with massage room, plunge pool, rain shower, steam room and sauna. Oh, don’t forget the gym on the lower deck, which is part of the must-have beach club.
Reymond Langton’s interior decor exudes contemporary elegance, featuring light maple wood and white pearl lacquer with contrasting accents of walnut and ebony. Bravo Eugenia provides accommodations for 14 guests and 30 crew.
Sinot Art of Life
There’s something disarmingly divine about Sinot Yacht Architecture and Design’s Art of Life concept. The 377-foot motor yacht is long, simple and sleek. While its two-tier superstructure looks more like an open, tropical beach house than a gigayacht, the sloped stern takes cues from a sailing superyacht. The unassuming elegance of the yacht’s “monolithic” shape, as designer Sander Sinot calls it, comes from the open aft and foredecks, bridge deck and unassuming lines. Those features distinguish the vessel from more ostentatious gigayachts. Meanwhile, its inner beauty is the connection with the outdoors: Large sliding panels provide ocean views from the formal dining area, and the stern’s floor-to-ceiling windows are one-of-a-kind in the world of yachting. The owner’s stateroom also has a unique private lounge that traverses the main and upper decks, while the wellness center offers a Roman-style bath, massage area, sauna and loose sofas. And of course, Art of Life’s indoor cinema includes a retractable screen that covers an entire wall. The concept is a work of exceptional beauty.
Royal Huisman Aquarius
The owner of Aquarius assembled the dream team of Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman, Dykstra Naval Architects in the Netherlands and UK-based Mark Whiteley Design to create this singular 184-foot sailing superyacht. Designed as a world cruiser that will participate in superyacht regattas, the yacht’s classic exterior has an elegant, muscular look, bolstered by carbon-fiber masts and rigging and extensive sail plans. The downwind sail plan, which gives the boat a majestic presence, measures a staggering 32,292 square feet. To minimize manpower, the yacht has remote units that raise and lower the sails with the push of a button.
MOTOR YACHT 200 TO 300 FEET:
When landlubbers dream of superyachts, this is the kind of boat they have in mind. Launched and delivered last year, the five-deck, 227-foot Spectre is the third Benetti yacht for John and Jeanette Staluppi in a line of James Bond–named vessels. Besides the necessary pool, spa, gym, helipad and elevator, Spectre is the “first yacht of this size equipped with a ride control system, an innovative hull by Mulder and much more,” says Dario Schiavo at Benetti. Schiavo is referring to the Naiad Dynamics Ride Control System designed to improve comfort and performance at sea for navy and commercial vessels. With the collaboration of Dutch firm Mulder Design, Spectre is the first monohull superyacht to use the technology. The system significantly improves cruising stability and onboard comfort.
In addition to providing a smooth ride, the naval architecture includes Mulder’s high-speed cruising hull, which Frank Mulder says will not only be about 30 percent faster than “normal” displacement yachts with a similar engine configuration, but will also reduce fuel consumption at long-range speeds. The yacht does in fact deliver a speedy 21.2 knots and a range of 6,500 nautical miles at a speed of 12 knots.
Giorgio M. Cassetta created Spectre’s exterior lines, giving it a long forefoot, with a hint of classic sports car. The interiors, crafted by the Benetti team, include four—yep, four—wine cellars. A spiral staircase and glass elevator grace the lobby, while six cabins sleep 12 guests and nine more sleep 14 crew.
The pale turquoise hull color gives the whole theme away. The owners of the CRN-built Latona requested a Liberty-style (or Italian art nouveau) motif for the whole 164-foot five-deck vessel, which launched in 2018. Italian studio Zuccon International Project and the CRN interior design team accepted the challenge, and the result was a to-the-T, no-detail-left-untended, fin-de-siècle-Italy yacht, with all the modern amenities and tech, including a premium entertainment system.
True to the Liberty style, which draws on elements such as repeated patterns, floral themes, fluid shapes, organic lines and rounded forms, the owner chose a sinuous dark-brown embroidery line found across all decks. The design travels along both marble and carpeted floors as well as on furniture in the main saloon and on the curved handrail of the internal staircase and the chandelier in the dining area— essentially tying the whole theme together.
The yacht accommodates 10 guests in five staterooms, plus cabins for a total of nine crew members.
MOTOR YACHT 100 TO 200 FEET:
CBI Navi Stella di Mare
Stella di Mare, the 131-foot explorer yacht by Italian shipyard CBI Navi, is built for long, autonomous periods at sea. The designers included serious storage, refrigeration and freezer units for far-flung adventures. This star of the sea distinguishes itself, however, with an 800-bottle, climate-controlled wine cellar. The owner, who has a large, extended family, wanted to ensure that a two-week voyage many miles from the nearest port didn’t compromise the culinary experience.
Beyond the expedition infrastructure, Fossati Design Bureau also created a nautical look to the interior that was contemporary without being flashy. Walnut, mahogany and wenge provide a classic look, but leather and burnished bronze give a modern appeal. The designers commissioned globe-maker Bellerby & Co. to create a globe near bookshelves in the window of the main saloon, with another hand-painted map of the world behind the dining table. The children’s staterooms have their favorite cartoon characters on the walls. Outside, the boat’s versatile sundeck works as a sunning area or can be set up as a gym, and there’s space for a grill and an alfresco dining area. There is even a nook with a couple of seats on the front of the radar arch that allows for exceptional water views.
Triton Hadal Exploration System
Costing $48.7 million, the Triton 36000/2 Hadal Exploration System is actually two vessels, comprising the research boat DSSV Pressure Drop and Triton submersible Limiting Factor. The dynamic duo was funded by Victor Vescovo for his Five Deeps Expedition, which is exploring the deepest, most unexplored places in the world’s five oceans. Limiting Factor is Triton’s first full-ocean-depth model, which is capable of carrying two submariners into the oceans’ hadal zones (hadal derives from Hades, the Greek mythological underworld) that range to 36,000 feet below sea level. The sub is significantly lighter than previous deep-diving vehicles and features 10 electric thrusters to enhance sub-surface maneuverability. Last December, Five Deeps completed its Atlantic dive in the Puerto Rico Trench (27,480-foot depth); the expedition dove the South Sandwich Trench in Antarctica (24,390 feet) in February; and in April, it explored the Java Trench in the Indian Ocean (23,596 feet). Beyond ocean exploration, Five Deeps will be hosting 50 scientific missions into the lands around those remote locations.
Damen Power Play
The shadow-vessel market has matured in the last decade, with examples like this boat from Damen Yacht Support pushing the category forward. The 182-foot Power Play has all the amenities to support the owner’s more traditional mother-ship yacht, including a 2,600-square-foot open deck and a 12-ton deck crane to hoist toys, tenders and submersibles. The yacht also has a 540-square-foot adventure area that converts to a dive center on expeditions and a rare three staterooms for six guests, an evolutionary step forward for the shadow-boat category. That means owners’ parties can stay aboard for autonomous expeditions into distant waters, given the vessel’s 5,000-mile range. It can also operate in zero-discharge zones where other yachts are banned. The crew quarters can hold seven people, with additional berths for four other staff, such as pilots, security guards or guides. Power Play could be the ultimate explorer yacht for adventurous owners, not just a vessel that lurks in the shadows.
150 TO 200 FEET:
The great outdoors on yachts is typically all about the sea. But Heesen’s 167-foot Irisha took a more residential approach to the outside experience, putting a winter garden (no plants in sight) in place of the usual main saloon. The indoor/outdoor space has large windows and sliding-glass doors that open on three sides and allow for flow between the boat’s aft-deck seating area and the “garden,” kitted out with beachy-cool furniture and floor coverings. The space allows for the adjacent dining table to expand from 14 settings to its full 22-seat magnificence, catering to the owner’s request for a fast day boat with an emphasis on fine dining.
London studio Harrison Eidsgaard helmed the design, creating an efficient full-aluminum, semi-displacement motor yacht reminiscent of a fighter jet, with clean exterior lines, double-curved glazed glass and a raised wheelhouse. Partner Peder Eidsgaard customized Heesen’s award-winning 5000 Aluminum class engineering platform and gave Irisha a two-tone paint job that changes from metallic blue to dark olive-green hues in sunlight.
Powered by two MTU 16V 4000 M93L diesel engines, the boat clocked a top speed of 26.1 knots during sea trials and has a transatlantic range of more than 3,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 11 knots.
Its interior lines, design and decor sync in neutral palettes and sophisticated light settings for a seamless flow from room to serene room. Irisha accommodates 10 guests in five staterooms, including a full-beam main- deck owner’s suite, and two double and two twin guest cabins down below. Crew quarters can house nine. Also on the lower deck is a split-level tender garage that becomes a beach-club area with a sauna and bathroom.
Last year, in the middle of the two-year Oyster World Rally, Oyster Yachts suddenly shut its doors, stranding in Australia 18 of its sailing yachts and their crews, as well as all of the British company’s maintenance agreements. After the brand scrambled for a financial life preserver, Oyster yacht owner (of Lush) Richard Hadida, cofounder of Evolution Gaming, jumped in and used his own assets to purchase and salvage the neglected shipyard. A year later, at the culmination of that same rally in April and the kickoff of the Oyster Antigua Regatta, I was witness to the earnest dedication of the new Oyster executive team, quite a few of the brand’s boat owners, their families and the warmth and enthusiasm that all brought to the docks. While Oyster has been busy finishing and delivering the yachts that were in build—whose orders seemed in danger of going unmet—the storied yard introduced a new model in May, the Oyster 565. The determination and personal financial commitment to keeping this family of yachts and yacht owners together deserves recognition.
With so many fresh designs, the tender category is usually difficult to judge. This year’s Best of the Best winner, the Anvera 48, was an easy choice because it combined advanced technology, space-age looks and an offshore hull. The foldout sides, which turn the stern into the ultimate beach club, are true advances in technology and measure 215 square feet. The 48 also has a highly impressive top-end speed of 55 knots. Other noteworthy features: a large helm area, a dining table in the center and three aft-facing lounge seats. The carbon-fiber hard top floats back over these areas without external supports, adding to the aesthetic appeal. Below, there is a large cabin in the foredeck, along with a full bathroom. The lightweight construction gives the boat one of the best power-weight ratios in its size, which means a smaller engine without sacrificing speed or fuel efficiency.
MOTOR YACHT UNDER 100 FEET:
Azimut Grande 25 Metri
The launch of the Grande 25 Metri last year was the culmination of Italian builder Azimut’s Metri series. This new boat shares the carbon-fiber superstructure of its sister ships, the 32 and 35 Metris, with exterior designs by Italian yacht architect Stefano Righini. The 87-footer is instantly recognizable as an Azimut by its long, aggressive forefoot, curving saloon windows and sleek hull. The distinctive beauty of the Metri series is highlighted by how the interiors—curved, soft and often whimsical—by acclaimed designer Achille Salvagni contrast with the strong masculine lines of Righini’s exterior. Rome-based Salvagni designed the light fixtures and furniture, even placing sculpture in bulkhead nooks. He also did away with the usual dividing line between saloon and formal dining room. In the large, open-plan saloon, the owner simply pushes a button and a dining table rises from the floor between sofas, creating an instant eatery. The yacht has four staterooms for the owners and guests, with additional quarters for crew.